According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics, most single parents in the Southern Downs are female.
According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics, most single parents in the Southern Downs are female. StockPlanets/Thinkstock

Season hits single parents hard, but not how you might think

SINGLE parents are calling out for support and solidarity as Christmas holidays bring up challenges, but a wall of practical barriers stand in the way.

When Warwick teacher and mother-of-two Adrianna Dunkley put the callout to other single parents on social media, all she wanted was someone to talk to.

Instead she got responses from people assuming she was struggling financially and was asking for money.

Having recently separated after a decade of being partnered, Ms Dunkley was surprised at the assumptions around single parenting.

"Sometimes you are put in a box with all these other stigmas," she said.

"People think that single mums are all poor and just looking for handouts and that is not the case.

"I have a job and I work hard at that job. No I am not struggling financially, I just need someone to talk to for support."

Ms Dunkley said there was a gap in peer networks for single parents in the Warwick community.

"There are heaps and heaps of mother's groups but nothing for single parents," she said.

"I have been to playgroups before and they have been great but when you are a single parent there are a lot of things that partnered parents just can't relate to."

For single mother Fleur Cannon, there's just not enough time in her week to fit in a support group.

"I am not interested in any groups, I just don't have the time," she said.

"It's work, housework, yard work or spending time with Tristan. Being a parent is my number one priority."

But others have spoken up, saying they wished there was something out there to help single parents connect.

"I had some people saying they have been a single parents for a long time and know how hard it is," Ms Dunkley said.

"It makes you feel like there are others who understand and you're not the only one. Especially when they have been there themselves."

At a time of year when there is a strong emphasis on family. Christmas could be particularly hard according to Ms Dunkley.

"Even just doing something like going to the movies and seeing all these couples all cuddly and stuff makes it a bit harder," she said.



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